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26 August 2008 @ 07:49 pm
I had heard about the presence of free horses on the Eastern border of Death Valley but the two visits I made earlier during the year yielded no sightings. After the long trip through Utah, Arizona and then Nevada, coming into California and to Death Valley was almost like coming home. I wasn't expecting to see anything but fabulous sunset in Death Valley that day and I had just ignored charging my camera battery and had not realized there was no space left on my flash cards for any more photographs.

As we drove along the highway, I notice movement in a bush by the roadside and as I slowed down and pulled over I noticed a mustang! And then another one showed up on the other side and then a few more! I pulled out my camera from its lazy slumber and began to focus and all I see is a big red battery sign! While I continued to kick myself for the blunder, I had enough sense (just that little bit that I seem to have... sometimes) to put the battery to charge. Every second was like a minute and every minute was like the lifetime of earth. The horses moved about, eating, looking at us, communicating amongst themselves and doing all of it in the most beautiful light there could ever be.

We drove up the road to see if there were other herds but turned back after a mile and came back to the herd we had seen. After about fifteen minutes, the stallion of the herd started moving towards the Nevada side and walked away calmly into the distance. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the herd moved and I pulled out my battery from the charger and my camera came to life - just about. I had space for about twenty photographs and I knew I had to be less trigger happy than I usually am.

Like they say, All is well when...

A Stallion in the making! For now, he's one of the cutest things roaming the emptiness of Death Valley!

The top female in the herd...

... and she knows how to keep the younger ones in their place!

The younger one walks away.

The Stallion!

I love the color of this one. It's the same one that got chased away by the older horse

Another mare and the young stallion! The building in the background is the Amaragosa Opera House!

Everything stops when a mustang is on the road. I fear for them though since the speed limit at that stretch is 70 mph. :-(

And the sun goes down in mustang country

sunithreddysunithreddy on September 4th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
why do the horses look fat/pregnant?
is this how horses are supposed to be? ... i am so used to seeing them at the race course.. that these ones seem kinda wierd.
Yathinyathin on September 4th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
i don't know. i haven't seen horses in the race course and i'm not sure if the horses were pregnant!
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on March 25th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
The gray lead mare is pregnant and looks close to foaling. (You can tell by how big she is, and her udder). The rest just look really healthy, which is a delight to see in mustangs (sometimes, you see very underfed looking herds in the desert).

Racehorses on the track are usually very young and are all peaked athletes; they are to most domestic horses as professional athletes are to the average human population. < G > They're also bred to be tall, slinky and wicked fast...the average TB would die in about 2 weeks of freedom in Death Valley. Mustangs are hardy little survivors, while TBs are the ultimate equine hothouse flower.
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on March 25th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
(oh, sorry, terminology bad. TB=Thoroughbred, the breed which is most frequently raced).
Yathinyathin on March 25th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that piece of information. It was truly delight looking at these hardy fellas in the middle of nowhere! The stallion was such a delight, but he was always so far away that we couldn't get a picture justifying his gorgeousness!